A month after final year exams started, the University of Mumbai is yet to begin the assessment of answer sheets. As papers pile up in the Exam House in the Kalina campus, there are fears students’ results could be delayed.
While the assessment usually begins within three days of the start of the examinations, this year, not a single answer sheet has been corrected yet.
The reason: the onscreen assessment process, announced by the Vice-Chancellor in January, has not taken off as the varsity is yet to appoint an agency for the task. With not many bidders showing interest in the project and other roadblocks in the bidding process, the university’s efforts have not taken shape.
The university will now make a third attempt at hiring an agency this week. “The evaluation process has been delayed as not many agencies were interested in the bid. However, we are confident that a decision will be taken on April 22 and an agency will be hired,” said registrar MA Khan. Khan added that since the assessment had been delayed, it could lead to a delay in result declaration.
The new assessment process involves scanning the answersheets after students turn them in, so that they cannot be tampered with. Teachers then evaluate them on screen. The agency will bring in the infrastructure for scanning.
Despite two extension in dates for the bidding process, only three agencies have shown interest so far. Earlier, the varsity had to revise the technical and financial criteria in the tender to get in more agencies . The annual turnover condition was brought down from Rs 100 crore to Rs 30 crore and the minimum technical score requirement was brought down from 70 to 60.
However, this time, the varsity is confident of hiring an agency. On Tuesday, it announced a four-day training schedule for evaluators. “There will be 20 centres and training will be conducted between April 24 and 27. Soon after, we will kick off assessment,” said Khan.
Meanwhile, the answer sheets of around 2 lakh final year students — of which 79,000 are from third-year B Com, 18,000 from third-year Science and 14,000 from third-year Arts — remain uncorrected.
In January, Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had announced that all final year answersheets would be evaluated on screen from April to prevent tampering. The process is already in use for the engineering stream.
Khan said that the university will follow a decentralised process for assessment. “While the Exam House will be one of the centres, other colleges, too, will be nominated as assessment centres,” he said.